It’s the most wonderful time of the year! But add the frenzy of the holiday season to short days and cold nights, and your winter wonderland can easily go from blessed to stressed overnight. Need a mood-lifter? Just a handful of herbs can have you rocking around the Christmas tree again in no time.
Simple home-grown garden herbs are great for stuffing and turkey, but they’re also perfect for lifting spirits and reinvigorating a tired mind. Why spend big bucks at high-end cosmetic stores when you can make your own bath salts at home? Three herbs in particular—rosemary, mint and lemon balm—are especially useful in putting the spring back in your step. They’ve also got therapeutic assets that will help get rid of ashy, dry winter skin.
More than just a culinary herb, rosemary has medicinal uses. It can improve mood and alleviate stress, as well as relieve pain. A natural antioxidant and antibacterial remedy, rosemary boosts immunity and is a powerful antioxidant. And mint? It’s not just for gum. Mint can clear up congestion and, as a natural stimulant, refresh and recharge you. It’s also a great skin cleanser. Aside from smelling wonderful, lemon balm calms and soothes. Like rosemary, lemon balm is an anti-oxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. Used together, the three pack a powerful, mind-boosting punch.
A few handfuls dried herbs: try rosemary, mint and lemon balm for an energy boost
1 C baking soda
1 ½ C Epsom salt
½ C table salt
1 T citrus-based skin/lotion oil: try lemon, grapefruit or orange, all revitalizing scents
Dried rose petals
To make the bath salts:
Mix baking soda, Epsom salt and table salt in a large bowl. That’s your base—the ratio should be 3 parts Epsom salt to 2 parts baking soda to 1 part table salt. Once that’s mixed, you can add your oil. Scented oil is powerful and should be dropped just a little at a time while stirring. If food coloring is desired, it can be added until the intended color effect is achieved. Finally, add the dry herbs (and rose petals, if you prefer), and spread the whole mixture on a wax paper- covered cookie sheet. Allow to dry for a few hours, and then you’re ready for a good, long soak!
Many herbs are safe, especially for topical use. However, it is always best to consult a physician about possible drug interactions and irritations before using.